Telling the World The Advertising of Rhodesia · Jan 1, 1931 - Jan 1, 1931

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Telling the World: The Advertising of Rhodesia.

A Rhodesian in England last January bought a copy of "Punch" in which, on idly turning over the pages of advertisements, he came across a striking quarter page announcement dealing with his country. With astonishment (and, it is credibly stated, pride) he read about the Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe and he is reported to have said on returning to Rhodesia that he had never realised what an alluring story could be told about the varied attractions of the Colony.

This suggests that the time may be ripe for describing some of the efforts made last year by those interested in attracting tourists to the country from overseas.

With a speedy and efficient mailboat service to the Cape to provide an escape from the gloom and sickness associated with the English winter, there seemed to be every justification in setting out to "talk Rhodesia" to those at home who welcome a change and new experience. With that end in view, the months of December, January and February were selected as being the best in which to run the campaign.

'Punch," the Illustrated London News" and "Country Life" were chosen to carry the bulk of the advertising, three journals with large circulations, supported by people who might be expected to want to vary the yearly holiday with the bolder venture of a trip over the sea to South Africa. Thirteen quarter pages in "Punch", three half and three quarter pages in "Country Life," and the "Illustrated London News" were budgeted for.

The first job for those arranging the advertisements was to hit on a plan - a copy basis, as it is called - for the series. "Punch" is perhaps the most interesting example. The quarter page space across seemed to adapt itself very readily to a treatment such as is shown in the accompanying reproductions (photos). The attractive black and white native studies of a gifted artist in Salisbury were used with a frieze effect as a basis, under the caption "Why Not Travel Too," which appeared through the series of four. The little black and white figures moving across the page gave a note of humour and originality, and the impression made was a pleasing one according to a number of authoritative criticisms received. The "copy" in all four of the series was in the "Punch" vein; imaginative, and not too commercialised.

For the two "Illustrated London News" spaces - half and quarter page - the designers of the advertisements worked on a different plan. The advertisements were more precise and detailed as suits a journal of that nature. The half page advertising the Victoria Falls, and the unusual quarter page embodying a striking sketch of Rhodes' statue were both intended to have an imperial appeal, and this note is prominent in the "copy" and captions.

"Country Life," with its glossy art paper, gave scope for two unusual and original advertisements. The half page adverting the Victoria Falls is, perhaps, the most convincing of the series. The setting of the photograph, the size of the type and the use of white space (or, in other words, economy of wording) make a fine announcement. The quarter page dealing with the "Black Watch" - a pleasant adaption of another of the Salisbury artist's silhouette studies - looked well on the page, and the black figures stood out attractively.

This rough outline - and he reproductions on these pages - will give some idea of the efforts made last year to "blow the Rhodesian Trumpet." A new 1931 - 1932 campaign in the English press has already been planned, and those who have read this article may be interested to see this January what fresh ideas have been contrived to tempt the visitor from over the sea. A new and original treatment has been applied to a series of three half pages in the "Illustrated London News," the advertisements in which last year produced a number of enquires from all over the world. This series deals with the Falls, Zimbabwe and the Matopos. A different series of three appears in the "Punch," silhouettes of native life being again employed in this medium with a view to preserving the element of consistency which is such an important factor in advertising. These will appear in the Christmas holiday season and in January, together with a different advertisement on the front cover of one or two issues of "The Listener," the weekly organ of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is achieving a wide and increasingly important circulation. The immediate object of these press advertisements is to make the prospective tourist write for booklets about the country, and a careful record of all such enquires, indicating the advertisement which produced the enquiry, is kept in the High Commissioner's Office in London. As regards the results, it does not of course follow that every enquirer books his or her passage, but on the other hand many tourists, who do not make the suggested enquiry, see and are influenced by the advertisements, and he general effect on Tourist Agencies is important. this of course involves a good deal of work in the production and keeping up to date of Travel Brochures and literature.

Another advance is being made this year in the direction of poster advertising. A campaign featuring a very striking poster is to be started shortly in the principal centres in the Union, and even in England, this winter, posters of the Falls and Zimbabwe will be seen on railway stations as wide apart as Sheffield and Norwich, Dundee and Peterboro.

Extracted from the Rhodesian Annual -Xmas 1931.
ORAFs thanks the relevant owners/producers for the use of such materials - No monetary gain is intended or gained - for sharing purposes only.

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